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Refined crystal glass from Northern Germany - Rotter Glas

Art for daily use is the mission of the family-run glass refining manufactory Rotter Glas. The family refines glass since 1870; their manufactory has been located in Lübeck since 1948. There, they elevate mouth-blown crystal glass tumblers with hand-cut patterns to pieces of art for everyday use.

Rotter Glas is specialised in the art of cutting glassware. This is why the selection of shapes is stripped down to the bare essentials. Star of the show is the “Rotter tumbler”, a tumbler in four sizes and ten colours. Matching bottles, bowls and vases are available in limited quantities. That is all Rotter Glas needs to inspire a growing international audience.

What makes Rotter Glas truly unique is the staggering selection of available patterns and motifs. The Rotter tumbler is available in hundreds of designs across several collections – a dream for every collector.

The Kugelbecher – an origin story

The Rotter family refines crystal glass since 1870. Their first workshop was in Silesia, a historical region situated mostly in present-day Poland. A part of the family moved to Northern Germany in 1948, when Carl Rotter left his parents' glass-cutting workshop to start his own business.

Carl Rotter’s initial destination was the Bavarian Forest, to this day the centre of the German glass industry. On the train journey, however, he got stuck in the Hanseatic city of Lübeck on the Baltic Coast – and spontaneously decided to stay.

After setting up shop, Carl Rotter quickly found success with a patented technique he had invented in the 1920s, his spherical-drilling technique. He cut many spheric shapes deep into dull pressed glass and polished the spheres by hand until they became clear.

Each sphere, called “Kugel” in German, acts like a lens that reflects the spheres on the other side of the glass. This creates a kaleidoscope-esque impression of infinity. The coveted “Kugelbecher” was born – and has been the bestseller and trademark of the house ever since.

Multi-layered quality

Today, Rotter Glas exclusively refines mouth-blown cased crystal glass. Compared to a typical tumbler, the Rotter tumbler is conical rather than cylindrical and has a more compact base. Blemishes in the glass such as small blebs, variations in glass thickness and colour deviations are evidence of pure handicraft.

The coloured tumblers have a clear inner layer and a coloured outer layer. This is achieved by dipping a gob of clear glass into molten coloured glass before blowing it into shape. Once the glass hardens, the two layers are firmly fused together. This makes glassware by Rotter Glas fade-resistant and food safe.

Cased glass has another quality: when the coloured outer layer is cut or engraved, the clear layer underneath emerges bit by bit. This creates subtle colour gradients and sparkling edges that add a new dimension to the designs and patterns.

Please touch the artwork

Glassware by Rotter Glas feels as good as it looks. Different grinding and polishing techniques create a variety of textures: frosted and velvety to perfectly smooth, angular to round, solid to delicate. A playground for your fingers!

Each design by Rotter Glas offers a new haptic experience. Since machines are incapable of achieving different degrees of polishing and transparency on a single piece, only experienced craftsmen can create such a variety of textures. To do so, they have to deploy a multitude of techniques that are difficult to master.

Due to these high skill requirements, few artisans qualify for working at Rotter Glas. After a three-year vocational training at the only technical school in Germany, it takes another seven years of professional experience to become proficient in all of Rotter’s patented techniques. The more complex decorations take the master glass finisher more than 15 working hours to complete.

This is why only 3000 tumblers leave the manufactory each year. Since 2017, every glass bears the lettering ROTTER GLAS in the base. In addition, the glass finishers engrave the initials "CR" and the number of the decoration onto the base after they finished a piece.

Create your own Rotter tumbler

The Rotter collection contains a plethora of imaginative abstract patterns. It is divided into several price categories based on expenditure of time: Freestyle, Classic I, Classic II, Classic III, Exclusive I and Exclusive II.

The Rotter collection is complemented by thematical collections such as the "Herbal Collection", "Fairytales" and many more “Special Themes”. The "Sealife Collection" is particularly popular: its lively schools of fish are arranged differently every time!

The Rotter tumbler is available in ten brilliant colours and the following four sizes: S, M, X and L.

  • S: 5.5cm high, 60 ml (2 US fl oz) capacity; perfect for spirits and espresso
  • M: 8 cm high, 230 ml (7.8 US fl oz) capacity; slightly less than one US-cup
  • X: 9.5 cm high, 280 ml (9.5 US fl oz) capacity; a typical European water glass
  • L: 10.9 cm high, 360 ml (12 US fl oz) capacity; a typical US water glass

To keep drinkware by Rotter Glas brilliant and clear for a long time, we recommend not stacking it and washing it by hand.

Our range shows only a small selection of available glassware by Rotter Glas. If you have a desired combination of size, colour and design, we will be happy to help you by e-mail at service@artedona.com or by telephone at +49 (89) 45 69 20 66, Monday to Friday, 8:30 am – 7 pm CET.

Cuts and colours of the Carl Rotter tumblers